"Jim, honey? Are you ok?"
Jamison Kirk startled at the sound of her mother's tentative voice and scrubbed her eyes furiously. She tried to rid herself of the evidence of her crying and her heartbreak at feeling so alone despite the many people in her home supporting her.
"Yeah, mom. I'm fine." She answered in a hollow voice. The words came automatically. She'd said them so many times to force herself in an effort to believe them. There was an aching emptiness in her mind but it wasn't just an emptiness. It seemed like more. It was almost like a raw, bleeding, festering wound but it felt empty and she had to ignore it. She needed to. Someone more important than herself; more important than anything in the universe needed her and she'd be damned if she let herself be so selfish as to deny her anything but her best but he should be here. If not for Jim then for the baby.
A small whimper dragged her from her morose thoughts and Jim looked down at the warm bundle in her arms. Her daughter, Lily T'Priah, Lily meaning innocence and purity, T'Priah for after the pre-reform Vulcan goddess of fertility, burrowed closer to her breast and a sensation of calm flowed through Jim, soothing the jagged edges in both her heart and mind, healing her in ways she couldn't explain. She'd chosen names both human and Vulcan for her. Jim had wanted to honor both aspects of her heritage and she hoped she'd done it right.
Her little girl helped to ease the daily agony from the broken bond Spock had left her with and it broke Jim's heart just a little more that this amazing little person loved her so much. There was no judgement, just a pure love that flowed into Jim's mind. Jim had once thought she'd found that with her former husband and bondmate but that was not to be. She was now so blessed to have it with their daughter despite Spock not believing she was his.
God, she loved Lily so much. She was her everything. Jim gently stroked the soft, black hair, running her fingertips over the delicate pointed ears and she smiled at the tiny yawn from her. "Hey. Shh. Mommy's here."
Jim closed her eyes and tried to welcome the warmth from her daughter but an insistent sudden pounding in her head that had been a chronic thing for almost a year caused her to falter. She could feel a stabbing sensation behind her right eye and Winona moved closer, recognizing the signs of an oncoming migraine and she quickly closed the blinds to obscure the blue of the Pacific Ocean from her bedroom window to shroud the room in darkness. It was too reminiscent of a funeral when Lily's birth should be a celebration but the selfish part of Jim welcomed the dark to help with the pain.
"Do you need something for the pain?"
Jim tried to shake her head but the nausea started too quickly for her to deny the severity of this episode and she barely had time to shift her newborn daughter before she turned her head and vomited up her breakfast into the trash next to her bed.
Jim quickly handed over Lily to Winona the moment she felt Sadie, her seizure aid dog, lay her golden head on her lap and give a single bark to warn her.
Her mom sprang into action and gently placed her granddaughter into the bassinet attached to the bed. Jim saw the familiar visual halos signaling another seizure and felt the sting of the hypo to her neck right before everything went black.
Winona Kirk watched in horror at the sight of her daughter stiffening and staring straight ahead, her hands twitching slightly and she started counting in her head even though the medical monitoring bracelet was doing it for her and would alert her if she needed a second dose of meds and a trip to the hospital. This was a bad one. It had been over a month since she'd had an episode that had broken through the meds Leonard prescribed. She hated this. She hated not knowing what was causing this. She hated Spock for the way he'd left Jim and abandoned his daughter. She just hated everything.
It was a tortuous three minutes before Jim let out a shuddering breath and Winona let out one of her own in relief but it was short lived. Jim's eyes were vacant, almost glazed over by the careful mix of the Ativan/morphine medication and was struggling with the effects of a postictal phase following a severe seizure.
She carefully sat next to her little girl, careful to not touch her for fear of overwhelming her with sensory overload. Jim turned to face her, her expression showing confusion and Sadie whimpered and jumped onto the bed to lay across her lap to prevent Jim from wandering in her current state.
"Who are you?"
The words were slurred and she ached to do more but she was helpless. It was the worst feeling in the world. "It's me, sweetheart. It's mom."
Jim tilted her head in confusion and she reached out a hand to gently run her fingers over her cheek as if to check she was really there but her normally vivid blue eyes were looking straight through her. "Mommy?"
She choked back a sob and cupped her hand over her daughter's. She hadn't been called that since Jamison was a small child. "Yeah, baby. I'm here."
She blinked slowly and frowned. "I'm so tired."
"Then you rest. I'll be here when you wake up." She helped her lie down and covered her with the homemade quilt that Leonard's mother had made her.
Lily started crying in distress and Winona carefully lifted the small bundle to comfort her. The baby's cries had just turned into small hiccups when Dr. McCoy burst into the room with his medkit. His eyes were wild but his hands steady and sure as he pulled out his instruments.
"I'm so sorry, Win. I was out in the yard and forgot my comm."
The older blonde waited anxiously but put out the illusion of calm as he placed a sensor on Jamison's forehead and took scans of her brain to determine if she needed to be transported to Starfleet Medical.
When McCoy's body relaxed, so did she. "She's stable but I think I might increase her Banzel dosage."
"Dammit, Jim." He murmured softly.
Running a hand through his hair, she noticed just how tired he was. She was so grateful that Jamison had him. Since that green-blooded bastard had broken their bond her daughter had suffered so much. Leonard had been a rock for her. He'd moved in and become a constant support for her but Jamison had hated feeling like such a burden on him despite him constantly telling her she wasn't.
McCoy sat on the bed next to her and pushed an errant blonde strand of hair off her forehead and she sighed in her sleep and leaned into the touch.
Winona's eyes burned with unshed tears. "Will she ever be ok?"
Shaking his head, Jim's former CMO clenched a fist but was nothing but gentle as he touched her daughter. "I just don't know. Vulcan bonds and how they affect the brain aren't my specialty even though neurology was one of my focuses in medicine. There just aren't enough healers available to see her and it might be a normal reaction for a human when a bond is broken. The human brain just isn't equipped for telepathy like a vulcan's."
As Winona rocked her grandchild, she couldn't help but feel so much fear that she was losing her daughter. "Have you gotten a response from the embassy about this?"
The doctor scowled and replaced the tools in his medical kit. "Yeah. They told me that minor discomfort is normal after any bond breaking and that it couldn't be that. They said that I should dismiss this obsession and xenophobic belief of mine and focus on finding the true cause of Jim's illness or it may be that I'm an incompetent medical doctor. They also said to stop harassing them." The doctor looked down at his hands, his shoulders slumped and his eyes defeated. "I know that's what it is! It has to be! I've ruled out everything else."
Winona adjusted her grip on Lily to be able to reach her daughter. Mirroring McCoy's earlier actions, she ran her fingers through the sweaty strands. With how bad this latest seizure was, Jim was deep asleep recovering. It was more of a comfort to her then to Jim. "She's dying, isn't she?"
Looking up into hazel eyes, she could see the torment, the agony, and guilt displayed as easily as she could see the pain her youngest child continuously pushed past to continue living for her own child despite the challenges she was struggling with.
"Yes." He told her simply.
She felt numb. She'd been expecting this, suspecting it but it still shocked her.
Sighing, the doctor looked far older than his years and he seemed to consider his words but Winona didn't want the truth to be sugar coated and he knew that. "Five years. Maybe less."
So soon? "How long until she's no longer her? How long before I truly lose my daughter?"
McCoy looked down and watched Jim breathing for a minute before answering. "Four. Maybe three."
The older woman turned away from McCoy, letting the news sink in. "Does she know?"
"No. Not yet but I think she suspects it."
A huff of laughter escaped her lips. "She wouldn't be a genius of she didn't know."
A large hand reached over and surrounded her shoulder, squeezing it in a show of support that did little to soften the blow.
"I want to implant a vagal nerve stimulator that should help with her epilepsy some. Sadie will be able to be trained to activate it using a magnet on her collar. It's an archaic method but effective."
Her chest tightened and she pressed a kiss to the soft, fuzzy hair of Lily.
"I won't give up on her, Winona. I promise."
"No-win scenario, huh? Seems like Jim's behavior and habits have worn off on you." She huffed a laugh and McCoy smiled back but it was weak.
"If there's anyone who could beat this, it'd be Jim."
She hummed in agreement. Pressing her lips into a moue of displeasure, she struggled to remain calm. "And any response from Spock?"
McCoy's hand tightened on the hypospray he was putting away to the point his knuckles turned white. "He put a block on all communications from me. His last comm was from his attorney sending a no-contact order and the one before that was the paperwork dissolving the human aspect of their marriage." His face flushed in anger. "He also sent the forms signing away any and all rights to the child that he is denying as his." He growled and shoved the equipment back into place with more force than necessary. "The reasons stated were that Jim was unfaithful and carrying a child that resulted from her 'supposed infidelity'. It also said that Jim's allegations of the child being biologically his are false and he refuses to do paternity testing despite the supposed low probability of it being his." He snorted in disbelief. "He actually used my own work against me by citing his physical from when he first came on board the Enterprise which showed that, at the time, he was infertile."
Winona tilted her head signaling they should move their discussion to another room and McCoy hit the camera monitor to keep an eye on his best friend, the woman who was like a sister to him. Transferring Lily to the crib next to Jim's bed, they moved out of earshot and into the kitchen where McCoy poured himself a small measure of bourbon.
Winona frowned and took the bottle to pour herself a small glass to join him. "How is that possible then?"
"I don't know but I do know I tested her DNA and Lily is genetically descended from that green-blooded bastard. He's not the father because to be a father you have to give a damn and he sure as hell doesn't. I consider him to be nothing more than just a cold, heartless, robot of a sperm donor." He threw back his drink and growled in disgust. "Jim loved him and he threw her away like garbage. He threw them both away and I think, despite what the healers say, that he did this to her. I can't find any other reason why this would be happening to her! She'd never have cheated on him and she sure as hell would never have lied about it or about carrying his child."
Winona gripped the man's arm. "I know Leonard. I know." Sighing, she sat heavily on the couch and patted the seat next to her, happy when he joined her.
"I just don't know what to do. She's wasting away right in front of me. It's like my worst nightmare all over again. If this continues she's going to be dead in less than five years, six if she's lucky but the Jim we know might be completely gone by then." Blowing out a frustrated breath, Winona reached out and grasped his hand in a show of support.
"She's strong, Leonard. She'll claw herself up from the depths of hell if she has to because of that little girl in there."